Grandparents Apart Wales Blog Court Orders

Social workers accused of bias by judge

29-Nov-2014

Dear Friends

Please read this for your information. It is sent to encourage the parents and grandparents who feel aggrieved at the decisions of the Children’s Agencies and Family Justice Courts.

There is a welcomed change coming where they will have hope and greater support than what was available previously.

I am available for any comments,

Many thanks

Frank

Social workers accused of bias by judge

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A judge has accused social workers involved in a care application of being biased against members of the child's own family.

In North East Lincolnshire Council -v- G and L, the mother of a three year old boy, referred to as "J™, had been unable to care for him due to problems with substance abuse. She died prior to the hearing. Judge Simon Jack also noted allegations of domestic violence involving the late mother and her partner.

The local authority applied for care and placement orders in relation to J, allowing them to place him for adoption with a new family. Both sets of grandparents were willing to take on J's care, but, Judge Jack explained, the social workers had ruled out both sets of grandparents.

One set was thought to have problems with drink and domestic violence, while the second set was deemed to be overly burdened by two older children with unspecified difficulties.

The Judge concluded that the social workers who gave evidence at the hearing had been one-sided in their claims. He declared:

"I had the very strong impression that the local authority witnesses were intent on playing up any factors which were unfavourable to the grandparents and playing down any factors which might be favourable."

The concerns expressed by the social workers about each set of grandparents had been "grossly overstated in order to try and achieve their ends."

He added:

"I have never, in over ten years of hearing care cases taken the view, as I did in this case, that the local authority’s witnesses were visibly biased in their attempts to support the local authority’s case."

Turning to the grandparents alleged to have problems with drink and domestic violence, Judge Jack said there was no evidence that children in their care had suffered any adverse effects.

"The reality is that in this country there must be tens of thousands of children who are cared for in homes where there is a degree of domestic violence (now very widely defined) and where parents on occasion drink more than they should, I am not condoning that for a moment, but the Courts are not in the business of social engineering. The courts are not in the business of providing children with perfect homes. If we took into care and placed for adoption every child whose parents had had a domestic spat and every child whose parents on occasion had drunk too much then the care system would be overwhelmed and there would not be enough adoptive parents. So we have to have a degree of realism about prospective carers who come before the Courts."

Nevertheless, he concluded that the youngster should be placed with the second set of grandparents, who, in addition to their older children, were also looking after J's older brother, "R". Judge Jack described R as "clearly a lad who is suffering serious sense of grief and loss" following the death of his mother. But the couple were coping "reasonably well"¯ with the situation, the Judge believed.

Read the judgement here : http://www.bailii.org:80/ew/cases/EWCC/Fam/2014/B77.html

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Children and what is going on

22-Nov-2014

Dear Friends,

I would be indebted to you to read the links enclosed for your information and if you are able to suggest a way forward there are many families that would be extremely grateful to you.

I have had a few emails this week from parents and grandparents denied access to their children for reasons of spite by the resident parent, or by application to the Family Courts by the Social Services to have their children adopted.

I cast no aspersions on any particular children’s agencies but Facebook has been full of allegations against the Social Services this week that it is clear that something truly radically is wrong as all these mothers and grandmothers cannot be complaining for the sake of it.

I have suggested to the people who have contacted me to contact their elected representatives but reported in a story in the link is the fact that Norman Lamb MP has been contacted without success although his comments are useful.

We have three Members of Parliament in contact with our group here in Llandudno which we welcome but we need all the families who have reason to complain about being alienated from their children and grandchildren to have a central point of registration so that the statistics can be collated and examined as to their legitimacy, establishing if, we have reason for real concern regarding children’s health and protection.

The Daily Mail has written many times about individual cases but I fear that has been only to increase their circulation and the question I ask is, why they don’t investigate the situation of children being separated from their families full on.

TV stations have also made enquiries and parents have written to children’s celebrities regarding their own circumstances but again only the sensational element is reported.

The Rt. Hon. Ed Balls MP (Guardian 19/01/2010), Nick Clegg MP (Daily Mail 17/06/2010) and David Willetts MP (Daily Mail 26/10/2009) have all stated that they acknowledge there is a problem and promised rights for grandparents, who are recognised as the main carers in the UK of children yet their treatment in many cases by the courts and Children’s Agencies is quite abominable.

Working practises in individual cases needs scrutiny as reports in many instances only outline policy, the recommendations of which, everyone would support with the exception of many of the public that have direct involvement.

Parents and grandparents need your help but more importantly our children do.

Best wishes

Frank.

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FNF BPM meetings continue in Llandudno

15-Apr-2014

FNF BPM (Families Need Fathers Both Parents Matter) meetings are proving a great success and it is hoped that those who attend and have themselves experienced alienation from their children or grandchildren will become volunteers and give people the support needed to help them understand their situation.

We are able to give free legal advice from Ian Smith of PAPA, Liverpool and have also been joined by a law graduate. So the signs are very encouraging. and I thank all those who, last night contributed to what was a very good meeting.

To those of you who practice Family Law it became apparent at this meeting that Court Orders are still not being enforced therefore they are treated with contempt which adds to the suffering of those denied access to their children and grandchildren but more importantly the emotional abuse it causes the children involved.

There was no criticism of the law or the Children's Act 1989 per se just the lack of understanding of some of the decisions made by the Family Courts CAFCASS, Social Services and it is those decisions that we are deliberating and trying to understand.

The Llandudno Branch has had the honour of welcoming members of FNF Both Parents Matter from other branches including the Wirral so we are together which includes our National Executive giving these matters serious thought.

As always your comments are welcome as we are dealing with some difficult, and may I say tragic cases.

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